Top 5 top 5s for Linux

Jack Wallen
Feb 14, 2010
Updated • Apr 15, 2018

I've been using Linux for longer than I can remember. Over those years I have written a number of "top 5" lists for various publications.

So I thought it would be fun to share with the Ghacks readers my "top 5 top 5s". I'll give the category and a short description of each entry in the list. Hopefully you will find something new or something you had forgotten. With that said, let's get to the lists.

Top 5 distributions

  • Ubuntu: Although it is not my desktop distribution of choice, it is my "go-to" distribution in just about any situation. And the only reason it is not my desktop distribution is because of the next entry.
  • Elive: Elive combines my two favorite desktop tools - Enlightenment and Compiz. Without Elive, these two would not work together.
  • Debian: It is that which Ubuntu is based. Need I say more?
  • OpenSuSE: The YaST tool alone puts this distro in just about any top ten.
  • Fedora: I was a long standing Red Hat user so Fedora is a natural for a top ten distribution. And even though Fedora is "bleeding edge", it's still rock solid.

Top 5 applications

Let's not pick nits and divide into categories. Let's just see who bubbles up to the very tip-top.

  • 1. OpenOffice: Let's face it, without OpenOffice Linux, as a whole, wouldn't stand a chance as a desktop distribution.
  • 2. Firefox: Although Chrome is my weapon of choice, it doesn't always cut it. And Firefox is one of the most successful open source applications of all time.
  • 3. Claws Mail: If you've not used Claws Mail, you don't know how much email power you are missing out on.
  • 4. Nano: Nano is the text editor for all those who don't want to have to bother with the cumbersome nature of vi or emacs. And without a tool like Nano, console-only Linux would be a real challenge.
  • 5. Apache: Do I really have to say why Apache is in a top "anything" list for open source (or Linux applications)?

Top 5 desktops

You'll never see any favoritism in this category. Will you?

  • 1. Enlightenment: All the eye-candy, with have the weight of the big boys.
  • 2. GNOME: If you want a full-featured, reliable desktop, look no further than GNOME.
  • 3. KDE: Although KDE 4 began with a lot of issues, it has grown up to be quite a nice desktop.
  • 4. Compiz: Although not a desktop on its own, Compiz adds such amazing features to your desktop, it must be included.
  • 5. Fluxbox:If you are looking for the lightest weight desktop around, Fluxbox is your tool. It doesn't offer all the bells and whistles, but it will bring new life to that old machine.

Top 5 commands

  1. mkdir: Need to create a directory?
  2. cd: Need to change to a new directory?
  3. ls: Need to list the contents of a directory?
  4. tar: Need to unpack a tarball?
  5. man *. Need to find out about a command?

Top 5 places to get help with Linux

  1. Ghacks: But of course.
  2. Guru: Find yourself someone who knows Linux well and latch on. That's how I got my start (with a shout out to Marc G.!)
  3. Google: When in doubt, Google is your friend.
  4. IRC: It's old school, but there are plenty of Linux chat rooms still alive and filled with over-sized Linux brains.
  5. Mailing lists: Just about every distribution has a mailing list. If you have a distro of choice, subscribe to that mailing list and read on.

Final thoughts

Do you have a top 5 that relates to Linux? If so, share it with your Ghacks readers.

Article Name
Top 5 top 5s for Linux
I've been using Linux for longer than I can remember. Over those years I have written a number of "top 5" lists for various publications.
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  1. Rahul said on March 18, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    very nice list ……..

  2. Mark said on February 16, 2010 at 2:12 am

    One more thing ,Google Chrome is of course a Privacy Hazard.

    Like Drewvt said,use SRware Iron it based on Chromium just unpack it and create a launcher under Debian and there you go.

    and it has an amazing ad blocking feature

    1. Jack said on March 30, 2010 at 7:41 pm

      Untrue. While I’m doubtful about Google Chrome, SRware Iron is worse.
      Read this and look for iron:

      Iron is just something to attract attention(=money) to their company.

      1. Jay in Phoenix said on July 26, 2010 at 9:25 am

        Again, what do you have against money? They have to feed their kids just like anybody else. If giving you something good for free ,no strings attached, in the hopes that they will attract somebody that will actually pay for their hard work makes them evil, what are YOU?

        How many paychecks will YOU miss before you tell your boss to kiss off?

        Is their house freeware? Is their car freeware? Are their clothes freeware? Are their groceries freeware? No. They have to PAY for those things (just like most of us). So, they give you something good for free, and they try to make a buck in goodwill to try to keep their lights on and their internet connection paid. What do you think the world OWES you?

  3. Curious said on February 16, 2010 at 12:21 am

    I’d like to try Elive but they require a “donation” to download. I see an unstable release at Softpedia but I’d like to try a stable release. Any idea where I can find it?

    1. Mark said on February 16, 2010 at 2:01 am

      I am using the Elive ”UNSTABLE” version 1.9.60 and nothing is unstable about this release it works like magic and even if you donate
      $ 10.00 it won’t break the bank.
      and yes Linux Mint 8,Fedora and let’s not forget the beautiful Mandriva
      along with Debian they all Rock

      Viva Linux!

  4. David Legg said on February 15, 2010 at 11:11 am

    ‘When in doubt, Google …’

    Whether in doubt or not, google is fabulous!

  5. miki said on February 14, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    mint 8 is the best

  6. Dotan Cohen said on February 14, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Which IRC channels are recommended?

  7. Drewvt said on February 14, 2010 at 7:05 am

    Chrome is the biggest privacy hazard ever to hit computing (until the Chrome OS came along, that is). You’re giving away so much information to Google, it’s almost literally like having a malware key-logger installed on your system. At the very least, use the unauthorized SAFE versions such as the German-made variant of Chrome called IRON.

    It’s frankly disturbing to see good open source code being used for such dark purposes.

    1. al3x said on February 17, 2010 at 12:40 am

      srware Iron is nothing more then publicity stunt to attract attention to srware. Google for it and you will gid the quotes from irc logs where srwareguy was asking chromium developers for hints. And the way he distributes his modified source says it all.

      1. Jay in Phoenix said on July 26, 2010 at 9:14 am

        Uh…, Why should they NOT want to get noticed? Who doesn’t want to get bravo’s? The point is not who is the most selfless and modest. Do they do the job? Do they do what they say they do? Maybe you want to be the Secret Santa for the world – cool. Do so. Give us a product better than their’s and let nobody know…. Yeah, right. That’s gonna happen.

        It’s free. It’s good. It works! So what if they want credit for making it and giving it away? Grow up and stop hating.

  8. matt said on February 14, 2010 at 2:44 am

    Isn’t that four top 5s?

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